The Los Angeles Clippers were more than just a mediocre team for the first time in a long time this season.
After this back-and-forth series, Los Angeles was bounced by the top-seeded Spurs in 4.
Yet, the season still felt like a success. We need to remember that Chris Paul did not have a full training camp to play with the rest of the nucleus and that Chauncey Billups tore his Achilles during the season.
Heading into the offseason, it was clear that changes needed to be made. The Clippers swung a superb deal, in which they acquired Lamar Odom, who is one of the best bench players in the league when he wants to be.
A core of Paul-Billups-Butler-Griffin-Jordan-Odom should keep the Clippers in the hunt, likely getting them a top-four seed once again.
Even so, this team still needs to compete with the Lakers, Spurs, Thunder and a healthy Grizzlies roster. In this way, Los Angeles has reached a stage where they are a competitive team, that lacks the depth to contend for a championship.
Signing Jamal Crawford would be a definite plus, because it would give Los Angeles a second scorer off the bench. Add Bledsoe in the mix and the Clippers have a solid eight-man rotation.
However, with Chris Paul declining a contract extension, there needs to be a great sense of urgency. This team is not even close to contending without Paul and he is an integral part of the franchise's future.
If the All-NBA point guard decides to leave Los Angeles, he might set them back at least a few years. This is why it is imperative for this team to come together.
At this point, it truly is "Now or Never" for the Clippers, a franchise which is not accustomed to having the weight of high expectations. The question is whether they can live up to them.
If they don't, CP3 might take the back exit.